Writers Colony and NCTE Announce Winners

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the Norman Mailer Writers Colony have awarded the first annual Norman Mailer High School Nonfiction Writing Award to EMILY SWANAGIN of Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Alabama, and the first annual Norman Mailer College Nonfiction Writing Award to JOHN GILMORE of Utah State University, Logan, Utah.
Norman Mailer produced extraordinary writing in many genres, and he was a true pioneer in the emerging realm of creative nonfiction. Evaluation criteria for these awards reflected qualities of writing he pursued across a lifetime: originality; insight; clear voice and style; artful arrangement of elements and materials; and overall aesthetic, emotional, or intellectual effect.
John Gilmore (College winner) will be honored with an award of $10,000, a trophy, and a summer fellowship to the NMW Colony in Provincetown, MA. Emily Swanagin (High School winner) will also be honored with an award of $5,000 and a trophy.
Both awards will be given at the celebratory Norman Mailer Writers Colony Benefit Gala on October 20 in New York City, co-chaired by Tina Brown and David Remnick of the New Yorker and attended by distinguished writers from throughout the United States.  That same evening, Toni Morrison, Nobel Laureate, will be given the Norman Mailer Lifetime Achievement Prize and David Halberstam (1934-2007) the Norman Mailer Distinguished Journalism Prize.
This year, 698 students submitted entries in the High School division and 667 in the College division.
image002College Winner: JOHN GILMORE, FINAL CASCADE
Utah State University, Logan, Utah
In the artful, multiply-entwined narratives of “Final Cascade,” John Gilmore brings a sharp eye to a young man’s struggle with friendship, evil, religion, geology, growing up, and death. As he searches the Utah mountains for his lost boy scout camp, Gilmore finds the final cascade “beautiful, haunting, tragic, and inevitable.” – Barbara Lounsberry (Judge)
FINALISTS: Laura Gottesdiener, Jerry Guo, Sarah May, and Kelly Skahan
JUDGES (FINALISTS): Barbara Lounsberry, Distinguished Scholar and Author; Lee Gutkind, Author, Founder and Editor of Creative Nonfiction; Melissa Fay Greene, Noted American Journalist and Author
NCTE JUDGES (SEMI-FINALISTS): John Boe, Janet Eldred, Dan Roche, and Bonnie Sunstein
image004High School Winner: EMILY SWANAGIN, LUNA
Alabama School of Fine Arts, Birmingham, Alabama
In her memorable essay “Luna,” Emily Swanagin addresses the painful subject of divorce with subtlety and grace. Her grasp of structure is impressive, her use of language accomplished, and her empathy toward both of her parents moving. Emily is already something many adult literary aspirants never become: a real writer – Anne Fadiman (Judge)
FINALISTS: Eric Brewster, Kiley Harrison, Abby Melton, and Emily Smith
JUDGES (FINALISTS): Anne Fadiman, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; Ted Conover, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction; Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction
NCTE JUDGES (SEMI-FINALISTS): Susan Reese, Kelly Ritter, Ned Stucky-French, and Jennifer Wells
For more information about the Norman Mailer Writing Awards, see  or The National Council of Teachers of English, with 50,000 individual and institutional members worldwide, is dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and the language arts at all levels of education.  For more information about NCTE or the NMWColony, please visit or